Whether you realize it or not, statistics is involved inherently in our daily life. Every single day, innumerable decisions are being taken based on these statistics. It is used in business, politics, banking, medical sectors, and various other fields. But not all statistics will make you nod your head in agreement. While some will tickle your funny side, others will make you gasp in amazement. In this article, we have brought you 10 such mind-blowing statistics that will make you think twice.
1. About 90% of all people live in the Northern Hemisphere.
The total human population on Earth is 7.3 billion. Out of these, approximately 6.57 billion people, i.e. about 90% of the total population, live north of the equator. That’s because the Northern Hemisphere contains 67.3% of Earth’s land including all of Europe and North America, most of Africa and Asia, and parts of South America. Also, the Southern Hemisphere is about 80.9% water while the portion covered by water in Northern Hemisphere is relatively less, i.e. only 60.7% water. (1,2,3)
2. 0.3% of solar energy from the Sahara is enough to power the whole of Europe.
The radiant sunlight falling on the vast expanse of Sahara Desert has attracted scientists from all over the world. To tap and use this clean, renewable energy source, scientists are calling for the creation of a series of huge solar farms. The area in the Sahara desert which is most suitable for these farms is slightly smaller than Wales in size. According to Arnulf Jaeger-Waldau of the European commission’s Institute for Energy, only 0.3% of the light falling on the Sahara and Middle East deserts would be enough to meet all of Europe’s energy needs.
According to scientists, the intense sunlight of the Sahara Desert can generate three times the electricity than the electricity generated from all solar energy sources in northern Europe. The electricity produced in the Sahara Desert would be transmitted to Europe along high-voltage, direct-current cables. (1,2)
3. The risk of a heart attack is about 20% greater on Mondays for adult men, and 15% greater for adult women.
The thought of Monday after a stress-free weekend gives everyone a mini-heart-attack. Keeping jokes aside, scientists have found that the cases of heart attacks are actually greater on Monday than any other day. This was found through research conducted between 2008 and 2012 at 11 public hospital emergency departments involving more than 45,000 heart patients.
The study also showed that heart attack patients who came on Monday are more likely to make their own way to a hospital rather than call an ambulance. They are also more likely to show up during the work hours, i.e. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (1,2,3)
4. Ants have a larger biomass than humans.
The exact calculation of the number of humans, birds, trees, fishes, and other living beings on Earth is almost impossible. So, the solution is to estimate and calculate “biomass.” Biomass is determined by multiplying the estimated population by their average weight. After calculation, experts have determined that the biomass of humans is approximately 350 million tons. One of the highest biomass is that of ants and is estimated to be around 3,000 million tons.
Do you know whose biomass is greater than ants? It’s bacteria. With a population of around 4 quadrillions, their biomass is 1,000,000 million tons! (source)
5. About 25% of western United States’ air pollution is from China exports.
As the United States began outsourcing manufacturing to China, pollution in some parts of US decreased. But recent studies have shown that the US-bound Chinese products are actually increasing pollution in some regions of US. This research was conducted by nine scholars based in three nations and their study have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
According to the study, Chinese exports contribute from 12% to 24% of daily sulfate concentrations in the western United States. As China is manufacturing US consumer goods, their air quality is degrading due to the low efficiency of their industries. The pollution from China is being brought to the US by winds called “westerlies.” These winds send chemical-laced, polluted air across the Pacific Ocean in a matter of days. The study also suggests that even though the air quality of the western US is degrading due to Chinese exports, there is a net benefit as the population density of western US is lower than the eastern US. (1,2,3)
6. Dragonflies are the most efficient predators on Earth with near or at a 95% hunt-to-kill ratio.
Who is the world’s most deadliest hunter? The question immediately brings to mind some of the big cats such as the tiger or cheetah. Undoubtedly these animals contribute to the daily death tally by an impressive amount. But a relatively smaller animal has a much larger death tally to its credit. They are army ants. A single colony of army ants can capture up to 30,000 prey in just one day.
But the crown of the world’s deadliest hunter goes to dragonflies. According to a study at Harvard University, Massachusetts, US in 2012, it was found that dragonflies caught up to 95% of the prey they chased. This remarkable success rate of dragonflies is due to their complex eyes which can detect black spots against the sky and their wings which are powered by individual muscles resulting in amazing acceleration and agility. But according to neuroscientist Anthony Leonardo, it’s due to the dragonfly’s brain that uses highly optimized hunting strategies to predict where the prey is going. (1,2,3)
7. Samsung is responsible for 25% of South Korea’s GDP.
Talk about Samsung and people will tell you that it’s an electronics company that is well known for its smartphones. Actually, the mother conglomerate is the Samsung Group based in South Korea. In South Korea, Samsung is a chaebol—one of the large, family-controlled conglomerates that have dominated the country’s economy for decades. Samsung has integrated itself into almost every part of South Korea’s people’s life. They own medical centers, apartment complexes, appliances and electronics manufacturers, funeral parlors, and even an affiliated University. In 2017, Samsung accounted for more than 20% of the entire market value of the Korean Stock Exchange. (1,2)
8. Beef production is the reason behind 80% of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest deforestation.
The next time you are having beef hamburgers, just remember that your simple diet might be partly responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Over the last three decades, the Amazon region has lost about a fifth of its forest. There are many factors causing deforestation, but the main reason is cattle ranching, particularly in Brazil. Trees are being cut down to convert the land into pasture for cattle grazing.
The lands are also being cleared to produce food for cattle consumption. According to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 24 to 25 million hectares of land in Brazil is used for soy production, 80% of which ends as animal feed. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef. As the population is increasing, so is the per-capita meat consumption. To curb the growing deforestation, the Brazilian government is taking multiple steps to reduce forest clearing. (1,2,3,4)
9. As many as 15% of Google searches every day have never been searched before.
Google is an integral part of the life of every Internet user. Google processes 100 billion queries every month and returns the result within microseconds. But, if you think that Google has an answer to all the queries in the world, then you are wrong. According to John Wiley, the lead designer for Google Search, every day around 500 million queries are submitted that have never been seen before by Google’s search engine. Surprisingly, this has been going on for more than 15 years. (1,2)
10. Innocent people will admit to a crime they never committed 43% of the time.
When an innocent person is wrongly accused of a crime, they believe that their innocence will save them. But, the reality is quite different. During an interrogation, an innocent person might actually end up confessing to a crime they didn’t commit. To better understand the psychology involved in this situation, two Iowa State University researchers, Stephanie Madon and Max Guyll, conducted a study. They found out that when first accused of a crime, the stress level of an innocent person os lower than a guilty person. This means that they will defend themselves less vigorously during the interrogation.
In the beginning, the innocent person defends themselves, but when the interrogation goes on for several hours, the person starts to wear down . According to Guyll, the pressure starts to take a toll physiologically and there’s a greater chance that the person will give up and confess. Typically, an interrogation lasts only 30 minutes to 2.5 hours. But it has been found that in the cases of false confessions, the suspects were questioned for up to 24 hours. (1,2)